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George Jones

Hits I Missed... And One I Didn't – 2005 (Bandit)

Reviewed by Stuart Munro

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This year's George Jones record was conceived as a follow-up to last year's: after surveying "fifty years of hits," Jones has now done a collection of "hits he missed"- songs that ended up being hits for other artists, many of which were offered to Jones, who declined for various reasons to record them at the time. For most singers, covering hits by the likes of Merle Haggard ("Today I Started Loving You Again"), Alan Jackson ("Here In the Real World"), Randy Travis ("On the Other Hand"), Vern Gosdin ("If You're Gonna Do Me Wrong") and Ray Charles ("Busted") would be a daunting task, but George Jones has spent the last few albums reminding us once again that he ain't no ordinary singer. The aging of his voice may be increasingly evident, but with a collection of hard country like this, that as often as not works to his advantage, especially when it's married to the classic, understated production of Keith Stegall.

There's also "one (hit) he didn't" miss here: a fine reprise of the greatest country song of them all, "He Stopped Loving Her Today." Jones credits that song (and the album from which it came, 1980's "I Am What I Am") with resuscitating his career.